Batman Forever (1995)

Batman Forever is a 1995 American superhero film directed by Joel Schumacher and produced by Tim Burton. Based on the DC Comics character Batman, the film is a sequel to Batman Returns (1992), with Val Kilmer replacing Michael Keaton as Batman. The plot focuses on Batman trying to stop Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) and the Riddler (Jim Carrey) in their villainous scheme to drain information from all the brains in Gotham City. He gains allegiance from psychiatrist Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman) and orphaned ward Dick Grayson (Chris O’Donnell).

The film had a change in tone compared to the previous installments, becoming more family-friendly since Warner Bros. considered that the previous film, Batman Returns, underperformed at the box office due to its violence and dark overtones. Production was troubled, with many actors considered for the main roles. Batman Forever received mixed reviews upon release, but was a success with audiences, out-grossing Batman Returns with over $336 million worldwide and becoming the sixth-highest grossing film of 1995.




PLOT SUMMARY

Batman intervenes in a hostage situation in a bank caused by Two-Face, the alter ego of the disfigured former district attorney, Harvey Dent. Dent is holding a security guard hostage, and when Batman comes to his rescue, Two-Face locks them both in a safe, dragging them out of the building hanging off of his helicopter by a chain. The safe begins to fill with acid, but Batman uses the security guard’s hearing aid to unlock the safe. Inside the helicopter, Two-Face sees Batman’s cape fall across the wind screen. Dent shoots at it, killing the pilot in the process. Dent then parachutes out as the copter flies into Gotham City Harbor. Batman jumps out just before it crashes into the Statue of Liberty and explodes. Later on, Edward Nygma, a researcher at Wayne Enterprises, develops a device to beam television directly to a person’s brain; Bruce Wayne (with whom Nygma is obsessed) rejects the invention, noting that it “raises too many questions”. Nygma’s boss attempts to terminate the project but Nygma tests the machine on him and murders him (making it look like a suicide) and resigns from his position at Wayne Enterprises, though he leaves a riddle there.

After meeting psychiatrist Dr. Chase Meridian, Bruce invites her to a charity circus event. There, Two-Face and his henchmen storm the event in an attempt to discover Batman’s secret identity, which Bruce tries to tell him, but cannot due to the crowd screaming; in the process, a family of acrobats called The Flying Graysons are murdered, falling to their deaths when their trapeze is cut. The youngest member, Dick, survives and throws Two-Face’s bomb into the river. Bruce assumes responsibility for Dick and allows him to stay at Wayne Manor. Dick declares his intention to kill Two-Face and avenge his family’s murder, and when he discovers Bruce’s secret identity as Batman, he insists on becoming his partner, an offer Bruce vehemently rejects to prevent the youth from following his own troubled path. Despite his master’s wishes, Bruce’s loyal butler Alfred provides guidance and counsel to Dick relating to his desire to follow in Bruce’s crusade.

Meanwhile, Nygma becomes a criminal known as the “Riddler” and become allies with Two-Face, promising to discover Batman’s identity—he sends Bruce two additional riddles as time goes on. Nygma’s device, the Box, having been mass produced and become popular (scenes depicting families of Gotham sitting in their living rooms with the device attached to their heads with their brain waves flying out the window to Nygma’s business headquarters are shown), has a unique side-effect which allows him to access its users’ brainwaves, enabling him to discover every secret they possess, enhancing his own intelligence and knowledge in the process. Edward unveils an advanced device at a business party, and is able to discover Bruce’s secret identity. Two-Face then attacks the party and nearly buries Batman alive, but Dick arrives just in time to save his life. Bruce continues to deny taking Dick as his partner, going so far as to give up his post as the Dark Knight to discourage Dick, as well as pursue a relationship with Chase, whom he plans to tell his secret to. Dick becomes disheartened by Bruce’s plans and discretely takes his leave. However, Two-Face and the Riddler later converge on Wayne Manor on Halloween, now knowing Bruce is Batman, just after Bruce has revealed his identity to Chase. The Riddler enters the Batcave and destroys most of the equipment, and he and Two-Face kidnap Chase after Bruce is grazed on the head by a gunshot from Two-Face, though Riddler stops Two-Face from killing him. They also leave Bruce a final riddle. Meanwhile, Chase is handcuffed to a sofa in the Riddler’s lair.

After solving the last riddle and using all the answers to determine who Riddler is, Bruce dons his only surviving Batsuit and prepares to confront his enemies. At the last minute, Dick returns in a costume made by Alfred, and tells Batman his moniker is “Robin”. Batman finally accepts Robin as his partner. The Dynamic Duo locate the Riddler’s lair, where the two are separated upon reaching the island. Robin encounters Two-Face and engages in combat, nearly knocking the villain to his death. Robin shows mercy and aids Two-Face, but is taken hostage when the villain pulls a gun. Batman is able to successfully infiltrate the tower, whereupon the Riddle reveals Robin and Chase are both held hostage, bound and gagged in giant jars above a pit of water and metal spikes. The Riddler tells Batman he may only save one hostage, but realizing that they are likely all doomed regardless of who he chooses, he stalls the Riddler with a riddle of his own, using the distraction to destroy the brain wave-collecting device, reversing its effect on the Riddler and sending him into a mental breakdown in the process. Batman is able to rescue Robin and Chase from falling to their deaths, only to find Two-Face holding them at gunpoint. Batman convinces Two-Face to use his coin a final time, then tosses a handful of silver dollars as he flips it in mid-air, confusing Two-Face and causing him to lose his balance and fall to his death. The Riddler is finally sent to Arkham Asylum, and Chase is asked to consult on his case. Riddler offers to reveal the identity of Batman to her—only to claim that he is Batman. Chase then meets Bruce Wayne outside and tells him his secret is safe. The two share a kiss before Chase departs.

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